Summer in Santa Fe is here! Come explore…

I recently had an article about my gallery in the Antiques and the Arts Weekly publication in a section they did for the summer called “The Old West”.  I am copying this article  here with a few changes.

Below is a view of Gran Quivira taken on a visit 2 weeks ago… a reminder of those that were here before us.


Letting go

It wasn’t until both my parents passed away (in the last 3 to 6 years) that I learned how to finally let go of my things.  It’s fateful to realize after your parents are gone that you’re next in line.  Having dealt with all their “stuff”, I realized that I wanted to start condensing my own belongings. This, in part, was how my shop, the James Compton Gallery, was born.


My Pathway to the Gallery

I’ve been a collector of historic Native American art for nearly 30 years now and I’ve never entered the world of retail like I have in the last three years with this gallery.  My prior lives were as a Landscape Architect, then Architect and finally a Rolfer, a type of bodywork.  I imagine this retail stint will be my swan song.  I feel very happy that I’ve saved the best for last, as the last three years have been the most enjoyable years of my life.


Creating my Collection

My collection has been focused on the gathering of those things that grab my soul.  The best way I know that a discovery has been made is the way the object pulls into my psyche. At first it was weavings; Navajo, Pueblo, and more lately Rio Grande blankets.   With time, Southwest pottery of the 19th century came into view. Then there were the occasional, fascinating and often unknown objects created by the indigenous people North America.  One or two of a thousand grabbed at me enough that I would acquire it.

A few of my gallery below with the new expanded area.


Here I am, thirty years after buying my first Navajo rug, and while my gallery is indeed letting go of what I love, I have also found the path to finding more!  How joyful it is to expose myself to even more material, some to purchase, some to pass on.  The elation I get in letting go of an object to someone else, especially when they connect strongly with it, is immensely satisfying.


Why I Collect

In my writings about why I collect, I’ve come to some simple conclusions that are significant for me. Simply stated, I’m looking to extend my life by collecting time and time is held in these living objects.  My life has a very limited window, but with these objects, I can have with me things that were worn, used, loved and passed on as if I am now a part of that history.  What an expansive way to incorporate and see objects!  They are not external to me, but rather they are of me.

Another view of Gran Quivira, Southeast of Albuquerque


Passing the Collection Onwards

These creations are living testaments to a time that cannot be forgotten.  They will not be forgotten if I can get my hands on them, learn from them, and pass them on to someone else like you, someone also looking to expand the boundaries of their own life. I encourage you to visit my gallery at 28 Burro Alley in Santa Fe, New Mexico for a thoughtful experience.


  • Jason Baldwin

    August 11, 2021 at 11:50 pm

    Very nice info on your gallery and path to it! Thank you, also thank you for your purchase of a saddle blanket many years ago from me. Good luck going forward. See you at Whitehawk.
    Jason Baldwin.

  • Jamie Compton

    August 21, 2021 at 4:36 pm

    Thank you Jason, very kind words you give me. I’m loving your book on the early bags – it’s well written and will become a valuable asset in the near future! Cheers.

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